Date of Award

Winter 2012

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

STEM and Professional Studies

Program/Concentration

Occupational and Technical Studies

Committee Director

Cynthia Tomovic

Committee Member

Gwendolyn Lee-Thomas

Committee Member

Philip Reed

Committee Member

John M. Ritz

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to determine factors female higher education faculty in select science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields perceived as influential to their success and persistence in their chosen professions. Females are underrepresented in STEM professions including academia, despite the fact that female educational attainment in all fields have increased significantly.

Four research questions were used to guide this study and they are: 1) What personal factors affect females' ability to successfully persist in STEM faculty positions? 2) What social factors affect females' ability to successfully persist in STEM faculty positions? 3) What academic/institutional factors affect females' ability to successfully persist in STEM faculty positions? 4) What other notable factors affect females' ability to successfully persist in STEM faculty positions?

The study was conducted using a 3-round modified Delphi technique. The participants were selected from STEM departments at 26 public institutions labeled as DocSTEM by the Carnegie classification of institutions. An online search yielded Email addresses for 447 female faculty in the above category who were invited to participate in the study; 73 responded and who constituted the study population while 43 completed Round 1 of the study, thus constituted the study sample. Meanwhile 38 of the 43 completed both Rounds 2 and 3.

In Round 1 participants provided a list of factors, which they refined in Round 2 and validated in Round 3. At the end of Round 3 participants came to a consensus that several personal, social, and academic/institutional factors were influential to their success and persistence. The personal factors provided by participants were positive mental attitude, self-efficacy in STEM, intrinsic motivation, positive personality traits, and positive self-esteem. Participants also cited such social factors as, affirmation and encouragement, mentors and mentoring relationship, and supportive/enabling environments, as being influential to their success and persistence. Finally, the academic/institutional factors cited by participants included supportive/enabling environments, affirmative/equity policies, financial aid and research opportunities, networking and collaboration, institutional expectation of excellence, service opportunities, and collegiality. The retained consensus factors had a mean of 3-4 and a coefficient of variation less than 0.5.

DOI

10.25777/m44g-4q33

ISBN

9781267890467

Share

COinS